Furious Eye

Month: May, 2012

~ Flint. Smoke. ~

Flint squatted in the undergrowth, his broad steel blade lying across his knees, and the collar of his drizabone turned up against the rain. He peered out from beneath the brim of his akubra, the mouth of the cave just visible, a dark grin amongst the gum trees farther up the escarpment. The line of smoke trailed from its corner, thin and blue, winding up through the damp, grey-green of the trees. He might have wandered for days down here, looking for the Glenroy if that smoke hadn’t given them away. It would be hours yet, he knew, before the smoke would thicken, heavy and black with the fat of the children.

The screaming had started and stopped some while ago, the last, red wail echoing away down the valley, silencing the sound of the bush. It was taken up again shortly after, mimicked by some thoughtless, black-eyed lyrebird, but it trailed off a moment later, the bird perhaps realising what it copied. Flint imagined the Glenroy, up in their cave laughing.

There was nothing Flint could’ve done for the kids. He’d got back to The Hall too late. He knew, even before he got close, the silence overwhelming, wrong. He came round the front of The Hall to find Dad and Pop lying hacked and mangled on the top step. They hadn’t even made it out the door. Their blood had gone thick and sticky in the heat of the day before the storm broke; a rich, dark contrast to the peeling, pale green paint of weatherboard walls of The Hall. The Blackburn plaque had been pulled down from above the door, its clean white boards, the sharp black letters stomped to pieces on the steps, spattered with the blood of his father and grandfather. Flint clenched his jaw and stepped over the bodies, knowing what waited inside.

The wives lay strewn about the floor, spoiled, battered and discoloured, all eight of them lifeless and staring. There wasn’t much blood, not compared to out on the steps, but it didn’t make them any less broken. He was suddenly angry at the older men, for keeping the wives to themselves, for never giving him a share. He thought of his father, whenever Flint would ask for a go.

“Don’t fucken akse me,” he’d say. “Akse Dad, they’re his fucken wives.”

There’d be no bloody asking Pop anything now would there? Flint scowled, crouched amongst the sodden scrub, down slope from the cave. And no having a lie down with the fucken wives neither. Abruptly he moved, creeping away beneath the trees until he found an overhanging rock where he could sit out of the rain and watch for the black change in the thin line of smoke.

He stared out across the valley, trying not to think of the Glenroy, up there with the Blackburn kids. It made him sick just thinking about it, the fucken animals. Not even the black fellas were as bad to eat other fucken people.

The green of the gum trees faded to grey, then to blue as they crossed the valley from where Flint sat, gathering into an inky haze, rising to the feet of the sheer walls that towered above everything down here. Where the weathered charcoal of the rock had sheared away, revealing layers of colour beneath, Flint traced the striations with his eyes, the soft shift in the stone from gold, to orange, to brown. So vibrant in the sun, the walls of the valley were muted beneath the steel clouds, sombre, as if frowning on the blasphemy the Glenroy brought here.

Above him, across the valley, Flint could see the rounded peak of Pulpit Rock, the outcrop where The Grand Father, the old Blackburn, his father’s father’s father used to stand and preach, where the family would gather to listen when Flint only came to his mother’s knee, and where a Blackburn would always keep watch with a rifle, looking for Glenroy on the trails below.

But there were no rifles anymore, or at least no bullets, and no Blackburns neither. Flint was all that was left, and he meant to get into that cave, when the Glenroy were fat and heavy on the meat of Blackburn children, and show every last fucken one of them their own insides. Turning his gaze away from the Rock, he pulled his broken chunk of oilstone from a pocket in his drizabone, spat on it, and set it to the steel of his blade.

It was almost full dark by the time Flint neared the mouth of the cave, the thick smoke of the cook fire diminished once again to a thin trail, creeping along the blackened, greasy ceiling to waft away into the night. He crouched in the scraggly undergrowth again, watching the lazy Glenroy lying around the fire, hands and faces still filthy from their barbaric meal.

Flint could see old John Glenroy, dozing on his back, one hand resting on his shotgun. It was a source of argument that gun. It had been years since the old man had shot anyone with it, and even though he carried it everywhere, most didn’t believe there was anything in it. Flint wasn’t about to find out; the old prick was going to be the first to get it.

He lifted his necklace to his mouth, the twin finger bones of mother and daughter from his first raid on a Glenroy house, and kissed it for luck.

“Alright you fucken savages,” he whispered to himself, rising from his hiding place. With his wide steel blade in one hand, and a heavy ball-peen hammer in the other, he charged into the cave.

 

 

Flash Fiction: Impetus @ Terrible Minds – http://bit.ly/K6HmPW

Disclaimer: Salary Saver

Despite some glaring contradictions to the following statement contained with this site, the author staunchly maintains it’s validity.

 

This site is in no way intended to defame, or otherwise damage, the author’s employers (past, present, or future), his colleagues, or in fact anyone on whom he might happen to turn his “furious eye”. Nor is it intended to set fire to any chance he has of ever getting another job, or having any sort of career whatsoever – though he holds no illusions about the burning of bridges and all that.

It is not indicative of his enormous respect for his fellow human beings and the plethora of ways in which they display their love for anyone a little bit different, for the species’ status as a virus, or for his fondness for the people he works with every day… all day… for long hours… much longer, in fact, than anyone could reasonably be expected to endure and yet remain sane and happy.

It is at best an indication of his current mood, but as his wife will attest, he’s such an erratic, unpredictable bastard, that said indication is but a fleeting one, and by the time you’ve read it, he’s probably smiling broadly and singing the praises of the very person he’s just finished ranting about… or clinging desperately to them for want of any other company… apart from the cats and the whiskey… and the guy who sells the Big Issue at the station, and always wears the funny hats and shit.

Nothing herein is set out to point the finger at individuals in any way other than that they are themselves representative of a larger issue – the intricacies and failings of which desperately need to be brought to the attention of the apathetic public. Of course, there are some people that are just arseholes, and the author maintains his right to bring this to the attention of the public also.

Having said that, the author recognises that in the context of this site, “the public”, constitutes approximately three and a half people, all of whom read this for the sole reason that they are known personally to the author and feel obliged to do so.

Finally, if anyone at any time feels maligned by the contents of this site, directly or otherwise, the author invites them wholeheartedly to enter into correspondence regarding the veracity of the author’s claims, and the possibility of removing the offending references. The author wishes anyone to know that they are welcome to engage in such correspondence prior to firing him, or taking other legal action… please.

Hard Earned Bananas and a Treasure Map.

Somewhere behind the flashy new 24-inch monitor, the one they provide the Primates of Bureaucracy with to distract them from the fact that their newly-updated PC was cutting edge technology in 1996, Monkey No. 2 is nattering. It has become a habit, and around in front of the shiny screen, half-mesmerised by flashing lights and repetitive warnings about out-of-date internet browsers, Monkey No.1 is developing RSI in his jaw from clenching it too much.

Overhead a discoloured light flickers, washing the room with its carcinogenic death glow, the fluorescent hue of productivity. And Monkey No. 1, slumped in this little tanning booth for the soul, this bureaucratic indoctrination chamber, his spine growing rounder, eyes dimmer, intellect duller, begins to realise that one day the prattle of Monkey No. 2 will stop. Monkey No. 2, having been awarded his long-service medal, his exalted place in the Entitlement Brigade, will move over to the desk of Monkey No. 3, who has in turn taken up residence in the former office of Monkey No. 4. At that stage, Monkey No. 1 realises, that he will take on the moniker of Monkey No. 2, and a new Monkey No. 1 will sit behind an even bigger, flashier screen, completely disregarding the fact that his terminal is even further out of date than Monkey No. 1’s is now, and he will grit his young teeth, hoping to whatever god still exists in that distant, dystopian future that the old Monkey No. 1 (now Monkey No. 2) will shut the fuck up, just for a moment.

The flickering light buzzes. It’s like the coiling of a spring in the back of Monkey No. 1’s head. He tries to block out the excessive palavering from the next desk, winding the spring tighter. Monkey No. 1 thanks fuck that he is hidden behind the high-def, wide-screen monotony-window, and that he can’t see the shower of spittle accompanying Monkey No. 2’s incessant jabber. The spring is getting dangerously close to snapping as it is, the rising tide of rage turning Monkey No. 1 a distinct shade of green. Unfortunately this green is not going to be accompanied by a muscular transformation, enabling him to leap the desk in a pair of purple shorts and smash the fuck out of that bloody chattering idiot. No, Monkey No. 1’s green is going to culminate in a prodigious bout of regurgitation, a violent upheaval, a vain attempt to rid himself of a sickening belly-full of inanity.

Monkeys are hardly well known for their love of quietude, but Monkey No. 1 muses on the fact that eight hours a day of stone-cold silence, for the rest of eternity, would be better than listening to another five minutes of Monkey No. 2 and his fucking babble. He ought to have nipped this whole thing in the bud. He ought to have subtly determined Monkey No. 2’s interests early on and stayed the fuck away from them. Better yet, he should have proclaimed an outright disdain for them – not that it would probably have made much difference. He’s never expressed a great deal of interest in American football, for example, and yet here he is, well into hour number six of Monkey No. 2’s minute by minute rundown of the NFL draft.

Monkey No. 1 can hardly be blamed for the situation though. Apart from the fact that it’s not really in his nature to take responsibility for his own problems, he was hardly to know it would turn out like this. In the sterile, lonely confines of an ageing government office, peopled by the Old Guard, the Entitlement Brigade, booths full of well-tanned souls, their spiritual necks as red as they come, a Monkey takes what he can get in the way of conversation, of discourse with the like-minded.

With the leaden weight of hindsight strung about his neck, pulling his spine further into the curl of the desk-bound, Monkey No. 1 now realises he has been quite naïve. Just because a Monkey likes sci-fi, fantasy, and knew the alter-egos of Iron Man and The Hulk before they hit the big screen, doesn’t mean he’s a Monkey of like mind; just because he voiced opinions about the disgracefully racist nature of the local Primate population, doesn’t mean he’s likeable; and just because he knows that two plus two equals five, doesn’t mean he’s a fucking ape – something that Monkey No. 1 is beginning to suspect himself to be.

In fact he’s sure of it. Monkey No. 1 is a chimpanzee in a zoo full of howler monkeys. He’s come to this conclusion, not just because in this artificially-lit cage full of the unending squawking of a bunch of thoughtless armpit scratchers with no more self-awareness than a bunch of, well, monkeys, he’s the only one dreaming of the tree tops, but because the other inhabitants don’t even seem to realise the cage isn’t the tree tops.

Monkey No. 1 finds himself dreaming of the tree tops more and more. After all, there’s only so long you can keep a Monkey in a cage before he starts to go a little bit soft in the head. There’s a threshold, and Monkey No. 1 is nearing it. He is on the verge of surpassing Monkey No. 2’s sociopathy. Before long he’ll be spending his days in the corner defecating and masturbating with banana peels.

Nobody wants that, least of all Monkey No. 1. He’s had it with banana peels. In fact, he’s not so big on the bananas themselves these days. He has a fraught relationship with them. If it wasn’t for all the fucking bananas on offer, they’d never have got him in this bloody cage to begin with. Their ripe yellow goodness coaxed him out of… well, not out of the tree tops as such, but at least (unlike this bureaucratic one) the corporate indoctrination chamber he was in previously was lit by natural light, and the Monkey’s there, while not very bright, were funny and aware of the fact that outside the limits of their little glass cage, there were actually tree tops. Of course, that is no great feat, being that the cage was all glassy, and said Monkeys could actually see the fucking tree tops from their desks.

So while Monkey No. 1 is angry with the bananas for convincing him to climb down from the canopy – not with himself, no, it’s clearly the fucking bananas’ fault. Also, everyone seems obsessed with them, and that makes them far less appealing than they might otherwise be – bananas are unfortunately like video games… or chocolate… or whisky… once you start eating them, it’s very hard to go back to turnips, and what with the resultant rush of endorphins, it’s impossible to stay angry with them all the time.

But they don’t compare to the tree tops. In fact, that’s the great irony of bananas. Monkeys left, right and centre are climbing out of the trees so they can hoard enough bananas that they can climb back into the fucking trees – though to be sure, they’ll be slightly fatter monkeys than when they climbed down.

Not much about this sits well with Monkey No. 1 and so, spurred on by the eternal gibberish of Monkey No. 2, by the tree-killing printing practises of Monkey No. 3, and by the backwards Monkey-numbering system that puts the title of Monkey No. 1, not at the top where is logical, but at the bottom because he’s the first to take any shit that happens to be flung by other passing Primates, Monkey No. 1 has gone and traded a great fuck-off bunch of his hard-earned bananas for a treasure map, and the ephemeral promise of a whole new forest of tree tops to swing about in.

Now, the problem with treasure maps is that they tend to be scrawled on tattered pieces of paper, barely legible, and stained by salt, blood, and mostly rum. And apart from all that, they’re never fucking drawn to scale.

Still, Monkey No. 1 has his sights firmly on the big red X, the one where the Diploma is buried, and when he finds it, he’s going roll it up and have it cast in steel, and while chanting the number of fifth-round draft picks the Chicago Bears traded for first-round picks, he’s going to beat Monkey No. 2 fucking senseless with it, and then he’s going piss off into the wilds of the Publishing Jungle, to hang out in the Editing Trees, and fling huge handfuls of shit at any Monkey stupid enough to pass below his lofty perch.